My Virtual Facelift

 

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been taking stock lately. Assessing. Appraising. You know…having a mid-life crisis.

In a good way. And without the new cherry-red corvette.

I’m trying to get my sh*t together. Deciding what truly matters to me. Getting rid of what I don’t care about and making room for what I do care about.

Part of this wonderful evaluation was the rediscovery of joy last week. (Which I intend to keep up.)

Another part of this includes online stuff, such as my little Lemon Shark and its sister, Lemon Shark Reef. As you can see, there’s been some changes around here.

I’ve talked about how far removed from myself I’ve become. This space (as well as my other online platforms) has not represented me or my writing for a long while. I decided to do something about that. I went ahead and got a virtual facelift.

I’m remodeling. Seeing what works. Creating something that brings…wait for it…joy. I’m feeling more at home here already.

Oh, and that picture up there? It’s all mine. It’s me. I’m in love with that amazing, gritty, broken, beautiful heart. It speaks to me. It also captures my writing perfectly. Darkness, emotion, imperfection, beauty… I call it my distressed heart. Yup, that’s about right.

It was tough to think about getting rid of so much. I tend to stick with stuff. (I haven’t changed anything in three years.) But, when the time came, it was easy to do.

It’s freeing to let go. When our hands are empty of what we no longer need, they’re able to reach for what we now want.

 

My Sunday thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

Why do we hold on to things that no longer suit us? Are we afraid of change? Do we become too comfortable or set in our ways? Or do we just put it off for “another day” until we realize two years have gone by?

 

Advertisements

Raindrops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens

 

 

I’m on my laptop, concentrating on work, when it starts to rain. I mean pouring rain. Like, build-an-ark rain. And it’s one of those sudden, out-of-nowhere downpours.

I go to the window, lean against the pane, and smile. I actually smile. And you know what I’m thinking? I’d love to go dance in that.

Then I check myself, turn away, and start back to my computer.

That’s when I hear screaming.

I run back to the window, all adrenaline and responsibility, ready to do what I can about whatever is happening. I am not, however, prepared for what I see.

Two children, across the street, are running around in circles, squealing in delight as the rain soaks them.

It is in that moment I realize how far away from myself I have moved. How lost I’ve become.

I know this. I’ve been working on it but, it is in times like these that I become aware of how much work I still have ahead of me.

When did I lose myself so completely? When did I lose the ability to follow my joy outside into the summer rain?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

FYI: I did it. I really did. After a short pause, I said, “F*ck it! I’m going out!” And I went outside and danced in my yard, not caring what my neighbors thought. If they want to gossip about the crazy lady who was spinning around and laughing in the pouring rain last week, let them. Let them!

When is the last time you followed your joy?

 

Unremarkable Me

 

unremarkable-me-sig

 

I’m exceptionally ordinary.

I realized this while struggling with my author bio.

Honestly, I already knew but it’s really in your face when you’re trying to create anything that requires you to write in third person the answer to an unanswerable question: Who am I?

I’m me. Just me.

Unremarkable.

I’m not being self-deprecating but I am wondering…

Why does everyone need to be special?

Everyone is unique. Not the same thing.

Let’s face it. We want our bios to be memorable. That’s the point, isn’t it?

I went through this last year while trying to write a social media profile and “About Me” page for my blog. I had a major WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis) and deleted myself.

But this. It’s so…final. An author bio, many experts say, can make or break you. Break me? Eek. They’re right! I can’t just cut and paste and fix it. It’s there. In writing. Forever.

Eh. Okay. So it is.

No matter how many times I rewrite it, I’ll most likely look at it in a few months and wonder what the hell I was thinking. So I’m going to accept that and let it go. And while I’m at it, accept who I am on paper.

A unique yet ordinary woman.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you have difficulty writing your bios? Do you change them often or write them and leave them alone? Do you try to present yourself as ‘special’ in some way? Do you even remember what your bio says anymore?

 

 

Deflecting Compliments (Like a Ninja)

 

Ninja Thank You - sig

 

Why do I apologize for myself?

This goes so far beyond not being able to take a compliment, I can’t even see the coastline anymore. I’m floating out there in the vast sea of self-deprecation. Clinging desperately to a belittlement buoy.

I actually get defensive when someone says something nice.

It’s ludicrous.

Last week, I was minding my own business, milling around a store, when a clerk grabbed my hand (because girls can do that—it’s weird) and said, “Oh! I love your nails!”

Weapons at the ready, I started my self-defense.

“Oh! I only did that for the summer solstice, I mean…my kids…it’s like a fairy thing, sort of…it’s a fun…” By then, she had let go of my hand and was backing away nodding. And no wonder.

I have an inability to accept compliments. But this need to make excuses for pretty much everything I am—from my clothes to my hair to my voice to, apparently, my fingernail polish—this has got to stop.

It’s a seemingly simple fix because, really, all I need to do is smile and say “Thank you”.

But when I bring out my sparring swords, we have a problem.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

It’s bad enough to become self-deprecating when someone insults you but, when given a compliment, it’s truly bizarre. How do you react when someone gives you a compliment? Have you ever gone so far as to make excuses for yourself?

Can you take a compliment? (If so, is this something you developed later in life or something you’ve always been able to do? I’m wicked curious about this.)

 

Upon Closer Examination

 

It’s been a month since I became nobody.

 

About Me 1 sig

 

The time has come, my online friends, to talk of other things. Like words and life and what I like, of Lemon Sharks and fins! (Sorry, Lewis.)

I must get on with it. A month, you know? I thought a perfect profile would just gradually, you know, appear to me. Like in a dream or something.

It didn’t.

My bio is still blank. My “About Me” page isn’t about me.

Though it’s been a while since I had my writer’s identity crisis, I’m going through a second crisis.

Who am I?

I don’t know.

So I asked my friends and family. It was kind of pathetic. Both that I had to ask them and, also, what they answered.

“A mum.”

“A writer.”

Argh!

I need to get something online already. My own blog is mocking me. WordPress dashboard says:

“Tip: Update your about page so your readers can learn a bit about you.”

*sigh*

I know.

I should have an ‘about’ page on the Reef, change the one I have on Lemon Shark, and completely rewrite my website. Also, I need a bio for Gravatar, Twitter, and Google+.

It should be easy. But it’s not. Not when you know you have a few words to say everything about yourself. Not when you know you will be judged by those words. Not when you don’t even know who you are anymore.

Upon closer examination, I’m still nobody.

 

There’s pressure to have everything just right. People write blog posts and articles with tips on how to make your ‘about’ page, your profile, and your bios just right. It all must be just right.

If you start snooping around ‘about’ pages, you’ll see some with “I like cheese” (instant follow), and others who fill the page with their accomplishments and links to their writing. So we’re getting murky again—with the separating who you are from what you do.

I have an ‘about’ page and a ‘work’ page. Some agree with this, some don’t. Contradictions in the world wide web of writing. I feel like I’ve said that before… Anyhoo.

I guess, when it comes down to it, these are important. They’re the first things a lot of editors and agents look at. They want a quick glimpse at who you are. So there is a certain amount of pressure involved in presenting yourself to the world. You wouldn’t walk into an office for a job without showering, brushing your teeth, and putting on deodorant. (At least I hope you wouldn’t.)

Whether you want to snag an agent, get published, gain followers, or just blog and eat some cheese, your ‘about’ page must be about you. It must be you. Most importantly, whatever it is you choose to write, it must be in your voice. Because that’s what we’re expecting when we click off that page and read your blog.

Bottom line, as I see it, is this: Be Yourself.

 

Do you struggle with bios, profiles, and ‘about’ pages? Do you talk about who you are and what you like? Or do you use this space to promote what you’ve written?

 

The Scrooge of New Year’s Eve

 

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.

 

Bah Humbug - sig

 

For January 1st, I’ve never quit smoking, gone on a diet, bought a gym membership, or sworn to save money.

 

I live in my head; I think about stuff all the time. Why do I need a day to tell me to think about more stuff? And all at once?

I try to learn new things, better myself, and change what’s not working. When this holiday rolls around, I don’t sit and reflect—I barely give a thought to the past year except to say, “Huh. That sucked. Hope next year is better.”

And it isn’t.

It delivers a whole host of new and different problems. So that’s exciting.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

The thing is, like I said last year, I feel pressured to look back over my year and write something meaningful but I simply don’t want to.

What I’d like to do is drink some wine (or Baileys or beer—I’m not picky), watch It’s a Wonderful Life (I know, the irony is delicious), and eat sushi.

So here’s to sitting in front of a movie, drinking, eating, and writing ‘2015’ on all my documents for a few months.

 

Happy New Year, gentle readers. 🎉

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them? (Let’s be honest…are they even realistic?)

 

 

I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

 

I’m having a writer’s identity crisis.

 

Nobody - sig

 

I can’t decide what to write.

Social media introduces me to the world as…

 

Who am I?

Articles, books, and blogs stress how important it is to have a niche. A platform. A brand. How crucial it is keep your “About Me” page updated and create a kick-ass profile. What I write defines who I am.

Cue the freak-out.

I don’t have a niche.

My “About Me” page doesn’t reflect who I am anymore.

My profile? That’s not me.

What type of writing should I focus on? Nonfiction? Fiction? What genre? What am I doing? What’s my blog about? Who am I?

I could just change my profile but I don’t want something hastily written in the midst of a crisis. It’s seen by far too many people who judge you by those 10-20 words. (They do.) And I don’t want to tweak it every week on a whim.

So.

I’ve deleted my profile. I know. You can’t do that. It’s so bloody important to have one. But I don’t. Not right now.

I am officially nobody.

I thought that would send me into a panic but, honestly, it feels…

Good.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Have you ever had a WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis)? What did you do? How did you find your way? Or did you?

 

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

Ah, my beloved Emily. She’s always there when I need her.
(Poets.org)

 

Monochromatic Memories

 

I love black and white photos.

Whenever I found a picture I liked, I’d immediately change it to black and white. Sometimes I’d switch to sepia. They’re gorgeous and kind of artsy.

Sarah B. B&W - sig

Lately, though, I’ve been looking at life (and photos) in a new way.

Last week I wrote about hiding by being covered up, but is removing something a way of hiding, too? Is getting rid of colors just the flip side of covering them?

I still love sepia and black and white but I’m going to give myself a moment to appreciate what the colors have to say before I make the decision whether or not to strip them away.

Now that my children are older, I flip through albums filled with colorless photos of newborns. They’re beautiful but I want to see my babies as they really were—spit up, cradle cap, rosy cheeks…everything.

Sarah B. Color - sig

I found this picture from last autumn. My husband snapped it as I was about to pull wisps of wind-blown hair out of my face. Upon closer examination, I thought it looked cool. So I turned it black and white. Taking away my skin tone and purple streak. Taking away my true colors.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Which image do you like better–the black and white or the color? Which photos do you generally prefer? I still love the B&W and sepia filters. There’s something about them. But I’m being more careful about keeping color in my life and in my photos.

 

Mirror, Mirror

 

How do people see me?

I don’t think about it much. ThoughtBubble

It’s not because I don’t care but because I’m too busy asking my magic mirror (who isn’t very nice) what it thinks of me.

It always finds faults.

The way I look, act, parent, write…

When I put my face, my body, my writing, or my parenting skills in front of that mirror, they are ugly.

Add all my health problems and that’s that.

Sometimes I can fix the imperfections, other times I want to smash the mirror. There are days I can’t even look because I know what I will see.

In this way, I do wonder how others view me. I wonder if it’s the same way I view myself. I’m thinking it’s not.

I can be cruel.

I catch myself thinking something negative about myself and realize that I would never say that to someone else.

Chances are I wouldn’t even notice the perceived flaw.

Is this my internalization of society’s image of what I should be or an issue with my self-esteem? Is there a difference?

I’ve noticed I’m not alone in this. Why do otherwise ordinary, considerate, kind people do this to themselves?

 

Mirror Mirror

Warning: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by society’s image of what you should be seeing.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

It’s My Blog and I Can Fail If I Want To

 

So. You want to be the next big thing in the blogging world. Cool. If that’s what floats your boat, I’ll wave to you from the dock.

I don’t want to be a “top” blogger. *gasp* What?! Who doesn’t want that? Me. I don’t. I’m good and sick of all the articles talking about being “successful”. In what way? How are they measuring my success when they have no idea what my goals are?

Also, what’s with the “everyone”? Everyone wants thousands or tens of thousands of followers and everyone wants their posts to go viral. If we’re talking viral here, I’d much rather get the flu.

One of the first things I learned (then taught) about writing is never use absolutes. See what I did there? That was fun.

Using “everyone” and “always” and “nobody” (as in “nobody wants to see pictures of your cat” when there must be someone who does) is totally uncool in professional writing. So is using words like “uncool”. And “awesome”. And peppering your posts with adverbs and fragments. Seriously. Whatever.

Maybe there are lots of people who want to be pro bloggers. But what I think is that lots of people want to blog. Just…blog. They might like more followers or comments but does every person who blogs want it to become their full-time job? Probably not. I’ll go as far as to say that the people who dream of making their living from blogging constitute a much smaller percentage than these articles lead you to believe. Which can make you doubt yourself and your cute, little blog (or your big, bold blog).

Don’t do that. If you want to blog, blog. There is nothing wrong with blogging for fun. Or chatting about books. Or posting pictures of your cat.

I’ve read lots of articles on blogging. Some of them are quite interesting and informative. If you need advice or tips, there are plenty of wonderful, knowledgeable people out there willing to help. They have experience and know what they’re talking about. We love them.

But if you’re searching the net out of some insecurity, spending way too much time in the sticky world wide webbiness of “you’re doing it all wrong”, close the tabs and blog. Blog whatever the hell you want.

 

Sarah B Seriously - sig